Thursday, 23 March 2017

Protesting Racism

by Caleb Barron

Last Saturday, 33,000 people gathered in London to march from the BBC offices to Parliament Square to protest against racism. 

Racism does not seem like the institutionalised monster it once was but there are still problems to be addressed. The recent policy to not accept anymore Syrian refugee children, to me, is a racist policy fuelled by the anti-immigrant, Islamophobic rhetoric.

The day itself was very peaceful and there was a lot of love present between the many people all from various different backgrounds. I was lucky enough to attend with Floss Willcocks as well as two buses full of local people from Portsmouth. We met a young activist named Shabbir involved in the Stand Up to Trump campaign as well as the several other organisations. We carried his banner stating 'No to Trump's Muslim Ban' and were even photographed in front of Parliament holding it. 

It was a particularly energetic and connected protest and tackled a universal issue that many can get behind. 

Below are some more photos from the day:

Poem: All in the Mind

by Alex Porter

Trampled by guilt,
Like being trampled underfoot,
By gunning down the innocent,
Covering them with red paint,
Piling on top of each other like rubbish

Over the dunes we went,
Not knowing what awaited,
Except for death,
Screaming and crying,
As we shot our weapons,
Clouds of smoke,
As my friends looked at me,
I smiled and said,
‘It's alright’,
Cool and calm
But in my head,
I was frightened,
And overcome with terror,

As the ship arrived,
Full of soldiers,
Smiling and waving,
I looked to my mother,
In pure delight,
Oh dear Mummy what a wonderful sight,
She smiles at me,
As I did at her,
That’s the army,
She said with a grin,

I can’t hold still,
I'm messed up real bad,
If I could just blank it out,
Just for one day,
No one can comprehend,
What we have been through,

If someone would look at me,
In a funny way,
I would attack,
Out of rage,
Show them how I feel,
As I could've said a thousand words,
But I just punch them right in the mouth,

We go in together,
We go out alone.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Comparing the Exploration of Artifice in Borge's 'Ficciones' and Nabokov's 'Pale Fire'

by Hattie Hammans

Jorge Luis Borges
Artifice is teasingly apparent throughout the work of Jorge Luis Borges, frequently leading the narrative and twisting itself to imitate other voices or stories. Supposed borders between reality and imagination are persistently blurred, contorted, and elegantly confused. It is unsurprising that Borges, the Argentine author of ‘Ficciones’ and ‘Artificios’, was meticulous as a writer, composing draft after draft for each paragraph; his sparse yet erudite prose, even in translation, as John Stark describes, “makes his work seem eerie and unreal”[1], highlighting his playful awareness of his fiction’s absurdity and indeed, unreality. Vladimir Nabokov, a contemporary of Borges, similarly exploited the idea of ‘artifice’ in his work. However, in comparison, Nabokov’s style is elaborate, at times richly ornate, concocting an artificiality through allusion, a linguistic playfulness, typified through recurring devices such as puns. The closest parallels between the authors indeed lie in what Patricia Merivale described as their “flaunting of artifice”[2]; the broadest stylistic trait that ties their work together in their ‘irrealidad’ (as Borges would call it) is the trope of the imaginary book, or the ‘inner manuscript’. The unreal literature in the works of both Borges and Nabokov draws attention to the parallels between the ‘imagined’ and the ‘real’. This trope pulls the reader into further fictive realms; ultimately working as a metafictional device that reminds the reader of the entire works nature as an artefact itself. The writers play with these ‘meta-conventions’ of their literature through their narrators and parodies, and even by constructing the stories to function on multiples levels of interpretation. This delight in metafictional devices becomes, in both author’s work, a theme in itself.

Vladimir Nabokov

 ‘Suave’ Dr John Ray, Jr. ‘pens’[3] the foreword to Nabokov’s novel Lolita. Written by a fictional editor, the 3 page long, erudite introduction frames Humbert Humbert’s ‘remarkable memoir’[4]. This fictional scaffolding alerts the reader to the fact that Humbert Humbert himself wrote the manuscript that forms the weight of the novel. Furthermore, the prologue acknowledges that the book was written in his weeks of ‘legal captivity’ before his death from coronary thrombosis. This transforms the novel into Humbert’s ‘Confession of a White Widowed Male’, which stimulates the reader’s justified questioning of the reliability of Humbert Humbert’s self-conscious narration. The ‘found manuscript’ of Lolita is Nabokov’s opportunity to bring into focus the nature of storytelling, and the inevitable ‘unreality’ of such narratives. Attention is brought to the ‘writing’ of the tale, by Nabokov providing a frame for its narrative existence. Of course, through Humbert’s consistent return to the theme of writing itself (For example, page 40, ‘I jotted down each entry in pencil (with many erasures and corrections)’), the fiction is self aware: Nabokov never lets the borders between reality and imagination become too well defined.

Le « Brexit » et la Montée de l'Extrême-Droite - Combinaison Toxique pour l'Union Européenne ?

by Sam Kent

Aujourd’hui l’Union est morte. Ou peut-être avant le référendum, je ne sais pas. De toutes façons, l’utopie Européenne de l’après guerre n’existe plus. Des gendarmes recouvrent les frontières de l’Europe et une nouvelle époque de nationalisme, d’idéalisme naïf, et une Europe qui est un classement plutôt qu’une grande équipe. Bien sûr, à l’heure de mettre sous presse, cet avenir n’est qu’une pensée, mais une pensée qui peut se transformer en réalité. Mais premièrement, voici une histoire à propos de comment cette pensée a vu le jour.

Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders
Jeudi 23 juin. La Grande Bretagne retende son souffle. L’Europe retende son souffle. Les Britanniques se précipitent aux bureaux de vote pour décider l’avenir de leur pays. Quelques se dirigent rempli de la fierté nationale, fervent de récupérer leur pays, autres avaient hâte de faire une décision politique raisonnable pendant une année dans laquelle le nationalisme de l’extrême droite irrationnel a été donné un nouvel élan face au terrorisme et les niveaux de l’immigration sans précédent au plan international. Pour ce dernier, c’était couru d’avance : les Britanniques ne feraient pas confiance en les mots des gens comme Boris Johnson et Nigel Farage, les électeurs modérés se dégonfleraient dans l’isoloir – et, après tout, les Britanniques n’aiment pas le changement. Certainement, ceux-ci étaient mes réflexions quand en endormant ce nuit, mais après être me lever le matin suivant, je me suis retrouvé jeté à un avenir différent. Nous avons voté de sortir de l’Union Européenne. Il n’y avait que 3,8% des votes qui l’a décidé, mais ça c’est la nature d’un référendum. J’étais témoin de l’histoire, mais cette partie de l’histoire était construit avec des matières que nous allions utiliser pour construire notre futur prévu, alors notre nouveau futur existe encore, mais ne personne sais plus ce qu’il ressemblera. Ce qui était ironique, c’était que à l’origine, le référendum ne faisait que l’affaire de dissiper la menace de l’extrême droite en Grande Bretagne – David Cameron, qui était alors le Prime Ministre de Grande Bretagne, a promis le référendum de ce sujet en 2015 pendant sa campagne électorale pour les élections législatives en mai. Il l’a promis pour essayer de attirer des électeurs du parti de droite eurosceptique, The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), qui offraient le même référendum. Cette tactique a marché, selon la plupart des commentateurs politiques, et le parti centre-droit de Cameron, The Conservative Party a gagné l’élection. Après avoir gardé sa position de Prime Ministre, il a prévu le référendum pour juin 2016. Alors, on peut dire que le référendum n’était jamais censé d’être plus que insignifiant, une promesse tenue, mais le parti qui était sans importance, et poussé sur le côté, UKIP, qui a commencé tout, a fini avec leurs objectifs terminés, et le parti dominant et en fait titulaire, The Conservatives, sans un leader.

The Secrets Behind Cicret

by Kendall Field-Pellow

Fake news… We’ve all heard about this in some form or another in recent months. Although, things which have particularly piqued my interest but haven’t been talked about are ‘technological breakthroughs’ that propagate social media. What I mean by this is not things like the invention of the latest iPhone or Apple Watch or the highest speed Intel Core processor, I mean unusual things which currently are unheard of and solve a particular solution. I am talking about videos and articles posted on social media platforms by pages such as ‘Business Insider - Tech’ and ‘Wired’ which show intriguing devices or concepts. These ideas often solve a particular problem or apparently will ‘help people greatly’ in some way or another in the future.

If you know the type I mean, you may be familiar with titles such as:

     Super-hydrophobic coatings” – which demonstrates materials coated in the newly developed substance are almost impossible to soil since all moisture containing messy substances are repelled, the action of this in the video is quite mesmerising. See video:

     Futuristic Floating 'UFO' Home” – which explains a new type of floating yacht-house hybrid with a UFO design is completely ‘off-grid’ and 100% sustainable -  I think this is an interesting concept which may prove vital in the future due to the rising sea levels…

      “Scientists have created the darkest material ever seen” – although by definition Vantablack reflects so little light (0.035%) that you simply cannot actually ‘see’ any colour.

These articles and videos which circulate Facebook and YouTube intrigue people like me because they allow us to keep up to date with the level of technology being currently developed and they provide expectations of what our lives may involve in the future. What is most enticing about such posts are that the feature of the post is often currently in the stages of being tested or is just a hypothesised idea for the future - and it is clear to determine which products are on the horizon and which are perhaps just a nice concept.

This is why it was very surprising to me that when I decided to research about a new type of watch, I found out rather quickly that something fishy was at play…

Now I introduce to you ‘The Cicret Bracelet’ *round of applause*

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Buster Keaton 100 Years On

by James Burkinshaw

A hundred years ago today (March 21, 1917), Joseph Frank "Buster" Keaton made his first, brief film appearance in the Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle production, The Butcher Boy. 

As America's most popular comic film actor at that time, Arbuckle was doing the little-known vaudeville actor Keaton a big favour by offering him the modest role of a shop customer who gets involved in a flour fight. However, as film historian Tom Dardis notes, "from the very first second of Buster's appearance in the film it is quite apparent that his way of doing things, the very tempo of his movements, is absolutely different from all the other characters'. In contrast to their frenzy, Buster displays a commanding, austere dignity."

This is one thing that sets him apart from his great contemporary and rival, Charlie Chaplin, who was far readier to appeal to sentiment by shamelessly mugging for the camera. In contrast, Keaton’s soulful eyes and impassive expression suggested an almost primordial sadness - a tragic sensibility amidst the farcical chaos of slapstick. He prided himself on doing all of his own stunts - and sustained a spectacular range of injuries over his career, including a broken neck that went undiagnosed for several years.

Keaton was not just an innovator on screen but behind the camera. While working with Arbuckle, "One of the first things I did was tear a motion picture camera practically to pieces and found out the lenses and the splicing of film and how to get it on the projector . .  then get in the cutting room . . . and find out how I get trick photography and things I could do with a camera that I couldn't do on the stage." 

The first Keaton film I ever saw was Sherlock Jr, about a film projectionist who, in one celebrated dream sequence, dives into the screen and becomes comically caught up in the action of the film he is showing (see 17-minute mark, below). The impact is as magical today as it must have been when audiences first saw the movie in 1924 - a celebration of cinema's capacity to absorb us in a world of illusion.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Please Don’t Read This Blog

by Tom Fairman

I recently read an interesting article in which the writer was drawing the parallels between Donald Trump and Jeremy Corbyn. Among other things, one similarity was that they both appeared to be most comfortable and therefore most charismatic in front of large, supportive crowds, whether they are large rallies or small town hall style meetings. Trump has taken the unorthodox decision to keep holding campaign style rallies long after having won the election and Corbyn regularly talks of the mandate he gained from his own election win. Both men seem keen to reconnect with the adulation and worship they received rather than face the challenges that their respective positions pose.
St Ignatius in his Spiritual Exercises describes this process in three stages; riches to honours to pride. Success, however gained, can be an addictive event. We naturally begin to feel good about ourselves when something goes well and like to hear people praise us. When people say good things about us, we feel good about ourselves and our self worth increases along with our ego. We begin to believe the titles people give us and long to hear the applause of an adoring crowd. We begin to believe that we have earned this, deserve it and therefore seek more of it. We become proud.
Pride can be a positive feeling. We should be proud of an accomplishment which has taken a lot of effort and dedication to achieve. We should be proud when a loved one achieves recognition for their work. However we have to be aware that there is a fine line between accepting praise and seeking praise to fulfil our ego. If our ego drives us to seek success at all costs so we can be proud of who we are, then we are in danger of destroying ourselves in pursuit of success. When are self worth is attached to the riches and honour that others bestow on us then St Ignatius warns we can be pushed onto all the other vices.
Jesus faced a similar scenario in his final temptation. The devil takes him to the top of a very high mountain and shows Him the magnificence of all the kingdoms of the world; the awareness that there is good in all of us which needs to be celebrated. However the devil offers Jesus all of this as riches if Jesus worships him. In today’s society, worshipping the devil is a statement which can be hard to relate to. However it is more to do with who or what holds power over you rather than than prostrating yourself before a statue. Jesus is challenged to give up on who he is and let his ego dictate his decisions to achieve power rather than rely on listening to God and letting Him have control.


by Michaela Clancy

I will begin this article with saying that I do not know if I am a feminist…. I find myself searching for a simple answer and only find myself becoming more and more conflicted. As with any campaign there are always going to be factors that you favour more than others, but with feminism and certain feminist ideas I find myself becoming very opposed.

After years of listening to debates about women’s rights and deliberating with others as well as myself, I have still not concluded whether I support feminism. The typical definition is that feminism is the support of equality between genders, which I agree with. I very much support the right for women to vote and to have equal pay. I also support the fact the women can obtain the same level within the work place as men.  This in itself could class me as a feminist. I revel in the fact that education is open to all genders and that I myself am part of receiving an excellent education. I have also taken up opportunities such as the CCF and have had the privilege of considering a military career. All of these things were not as easily obtainable a hundred years ago or in some cases, a few decades ago.

However, I find myself reading articles and watching videos where I begin to question whether feminism has gone too far. I find myself wanting to scream when statistic start popping out at me, as often they are biased and have not taken into account the full picture. Recently,  I watched a video saying that in books there are next to no females who take charge of their destiny without the aid of a male or animal (in cases such as Disney). I understand what the producers were trying to portray but I found it unrealistic. Historically, women were suppressed and many modern stories are based on historical background. Also, they did not mention which books that the study was based upon, for all I know they could have purposely picked certain genres or selected specific books to support their study. 

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Should Men Be Entitled to Paternity Leave?

by Sienna Bentley

Forty years ago, Sweden became the first country in the world to introduce paid paternity leave, giving both the mother and father time off to care and bond with their child. In the UK, new fathers will receive £139.58 a week for two weeks (the average earning per week was £538 in 2015), but can take longer, unpaid leave. However, while it is common for men to take a couple of days paternity leave right after birth, only the most committed and bravest use their right to longer parental leave in places that allow it: In the UK, 40% of dads choose not to take the parental leave offered.

I’ve read some pretty scathing arguments against the idea of paid paternity leave, some of which make my jaw drop and, controversial as it may be, I do find it a tad shocking that some people could be as ignorant as some of the things I have read. Of course, I think it is only the minority that are against paternal leave: says 82% yes and 18% no. So I’m trying to reach out to that 18%.

Yes, I agree with the fact that of course, women are the ones who have to push an entire human being out of their bodies after carrying it around for 9 months, but the notion that the father’s only role, other than helping to conceive the child in the first place, is to make money in order to provide for the family is, in my opinion, somewhat flawed.

Every argument I see usually stems from the same thing: Men don’t have to recover from giving birth. Obviously this is true, but it is also true that they still face a lot of the same issues that women do after having a newborn child. Yes, the woman is going to probably be twice as tired as her partner and naturally therefore should be given a longer amount of time off than the father, but realistically, both parents are usually living under the same roof, which in turn means that both parents are looking after the baby. Due to this, it is not just the mother, but both parents who will be kept awake at night by a crying, hungry baby. Just because the partner didn’t push the child out, doesn’t mean the baby doesn’t affect them. Both parents will see the effects of fatigue and as a result, the father’s work will suffer should he still have to go into work every day.

Othello: An Outsider’s Perspective

by Rhiannon Jenkins

A few Sundays ago, I attended Ellen McDougall’s production of Othello at the Sam Wanamaker playhouse. Situated next to and as part of the internationally known Shakespeare’s Globe, the playhouse is immediately far more intimate and claustrophobic than any open aired theatre. With seats practically on top of each other and feet knocking backs and heads, it is possibly an accurate representation of what a busy theatre might have been like back in Shakespeare’s day, before armrests were considered necessary and people took what space they could to see the playwright's work.

Cameras flash from the audience, capturing the Elizabethan facade at the back of the stage and the mattress, covered in blood, which rests in the centre of the stage, foreshadowing the tragedy we are about to witness. As musicians file on above the stage the phones disappear and the stage is lit only by candlelight. The six candelabras lower to the stage where the dozen or so candles on each are extinguished by actors dressed in plain white dress shirts, familiar to many thanks to Colin Firth in Pride and Prejudice. As the stage and audience are plunged into darkness, the singers begin a haunting acappella rendition of Lana Del Rey’s 2011 song, Video Games. It is surreal. To be surrounded by Elizabethan dress and facades, Renaissance drawings of little cherubs, candlelight and hear Lana Del Rey’s lyrics performed.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Photography: Farewell Fly-Past

by Nicola Watson

The Lynx farewell fly-past at lunchtime today.

Will ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Have a Harmful Effect on Children?

by Millie Braund

Emma Watson, playing the protagonist role, ‘Belle’, in the live action movie ‘Beauty and the Beast’ to be released in early March, has recently dismissed the widely acknowledged beliefs that her character suffers from Stockholm syndrome, and is not, in fact, in love with the Beast at all.

Stockholm syndrome is a mental condition whereby a victim of abduction establishes feelings of fondness towards their custodian. However, in an interview with ‘Entertainment Weekly’, Watson stated that “she (Belle) has none of the characteristics of someone with Stockholm syndrome because she keeps her independence, she keeps that freedom of thought.”

In the original Disney movie, Belle is made captive by the Beast in return for her imprisoned father to be set free. At this time befriending the Beast, who is aggressive and ill-mannered, is clearly the last thing that she plans to do, “I can't stay here another minute!”. In fact, throughout the whole first half of the movie, Belle is completely adamant with her feelings of loathing for the character, and refuses to be manipulated by him, portrayed when she denies the Beast’s rude offer to eat dinner with him. Sufferers of Stockholm syndrome, however, act completely opposite to this, developing characteristics such as dependency on their captor and a lack of initiative.

Whilst Belle may not suffer from Stockholm syndrome, however, she certainly appears to show symptoms of schizoid personality disorder. This is a disorder which is characterised by disinterest or avoidance of social relationships. A person who suffers from this disorder may also favour an isolated or ‘sheltered’ lifestyle, and endure emotional detachment and apathy; there is no doubt that Belle possesses these attributes in the original movie.

Throughout Beauty and the Beast, Belle epitomises the consummate responses of someone who has no interest of attentiveness to social relationships at all, much less those which include sexual intimacy. This is evident as Gaston, the sexist and narcissistic antagonist of the movie, strives to attain Belle’s hand in marriage. Whilst her resolute refusal of his offer appears to be because he believes a woman’s place should be caring solely for her husband, she also portrays these mannerisms that characterise schizoid personality disorder. In addition to this, someone with this disorder may also favour and achieve relations with animals far easier than those with humans, and so it is no revelation that Belle and the Beast’s relationship flourishes far more quickly and naturally than any that may have existed between Belle and Gaston.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

How You Can Help the Kilimanjaro Orphanage Centre

by Zita Edwards

With exams on the horizon and summer not feeling too far way, I have been reflecting on my last summer holidays and what I can do next. Last August I visited Tanzania for two weeks to trek up Kilimanjaro, meet the locals and explore their national parks. Whilst the views of the landscape were breath-taking, one of the most memorable moments was my visit to the Kilimanjaro Orphanage Centre.
Right back to a few months before the expedition has started; people from all over the UK were booking their trip to trek up Kilimanjaro. I had no idea who else would be on this trip but booked it anyway. There was an option to fundraise the entire cost of the trip plus extra and donate these funds to the Kilimanjaro Orphanage Centre. Whilst I did not have enough time to fundraise for such a great cause, I was glad to later find out that some members of the group had.
Upon arrival at the airport, we all met for the first time, not knowing that by the end of the two weeks we would have made friends for life. Before our trek up the mountain, we had a few days to explore the town of Moshi and its markets, and since we had arrived in the darkness of the early hours of the morning, I had not prepared myself for the hustle and bustle of the Tanzanian markets. The place was heaving with fruit stands, clothing, oil and rice. The market seemed to stretch over the entire town and 180,000 strong population of Moshi poured into the labyrinth of market stalls. It was mainly women managing the stalls, holding their children, and walking down the streets with huge baskets on their heads, whilst the men were busy farming or being mountain guides.
After visiting the market, those who had raised large sums of money for the orphanage centre asked to visit the place and see first-hand where their donations had gone. Since we were all interested to see how these children lived, we all piled into the mini bus and travelled down some very rocky and dusty roads, past people’s small houses and children in the street. As we drove past they waved and chased after us. Once we arrived at the centre we were greeted with a song and a wave of hugs. The children were all so happy and pleased to see us. They were so overcome with excitement, running around everywhere, giggling and screaming.

Monday, 13 March 2017

A Mystery of Faith

by Tom Fairman

The English language can be a very confusing means of communication and none more so than when you are studying Statistics and in particular Probability. Students who study this in Mathematics A level visibly shudder at the sound of a permutations, combinations or conditional probability question. For example, a question may ask you to work out the probability a tennis player who has played two matches, won the first match, given he won at least one of the two matches. You can overthink the problem and begin to wonder why the tennis player does not know what happened in the first match!
However there is a saying that I like that says if you take the text out of context, what you have left is a con. Clearly there is more to the question and the set up or context is just as important as the question. It is in this scenario that we find Jesus and the devil on top of the Temple during  the second temptation in the desert. The devil has lead Jesus up to the top of the Temple and told Jesus to throw himself off, quoting bible verses that God will send angels to save him “lest he should dash his foot against a stone”.
The test puts Jesus in a theological trap: by not doing it, it would suggest he does not trust God to do it and by doing it, he risks starting his ministry with a broken leg. It is actually a situation anyone can find themselves in. When faced with a difficult decision to take, we can feel pressured into being irresponsible because God has promised to look after us and it can look like our faith is weak if we do not rely on his providence. Yet if we have not discerned or thought about the decision enough, this can be a blind leap of faith that does not do justice to the gifts of reason or free will that we have been given.
To take each in turn, providence is a beautiful response to trust. We live in a society where our basic needs are usually meet without any worry on our part. To stop and take account of our blessings is to realise how lucky we are. There are many stories of people stepping out in faith and relying on God to provide and invariably He does. We can often look back on difficult decisions and realise that we were looked after. We are called to be co-creators with him, to take the first step and he will do the rest. Our trust is not misplaced. However this does not mean we should be jumping off Temple roofs.

Is Working to Exhaustion Fashionable?

by Layla Link

Stress. We’ve all felt it. We’ve all had far too much caffeine and far too little sleep to prepare for a test or performance or show. And we’ve all had the last minute freak out before it too.

But, how far is too far? How far do we push ourselves before we realise our bodies or minds simply can’t take it anymore? 

The human body is capable of almost anything we put our mind to. You can live for 264 hours without sleep. You can live without food for three weeks. And water for a week. And if you really feel like it, you can pull a really really heavy plane with just your human body (world record is pulling a plane weighing 188.83 tonnes a distance of 8.8 m). 

So, if we are able to do all those things, why don’t we push ourselves to be the best we can be? Why not break the boundaries? And in some ways, I think we should. We wouldn’t get anywhere at all without trying as hard as we can. As my Nan used to say; “you’ve never failed until you’ve stopped trying.’

Sunday, 12 March 2017

The Brontes and the Gondal Chronicles

by Poppy Goad

Throughout literature the Bronte sisters have made their own mark onto classic literature, Charlotte Bronte writing ‘Jane Eyre’, Emily Bronte writing Wuthering Heights and Anne Bronte writing ‘Agnes Grey’ and ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’. One of the most intriguing literary families, the sisters' previous works during their adolescents are constantly being looked for, and during the mid-1900s the Paracosm of  Gondal was uncovered. Filled with intrigue melodrama, love affairs and tragic deaths the world is an open door into the childhood dreams of the Bronte sisters.

The world evolved from the realm of Angria, ventured into be Emily, Anne, Charlotte and Branwell. Both Angria and Gondad holding their origins from the Glasstown Confederacy, created when the children were given twelve wooden soldiers by their father. Each named and cared for by the children; the wooden men’s stories written into their imaginary world, their names coming from figureheads and leaders at the time. In ‘The History of the Year’ Charlotte wrote:

Branwell came to our door with a box of soldiers Emily and I jumped out of bed and I snatched up one and exclaimed this is the Duke of Wellington it shall be mine! When I said this Emily likewise took one and said it should be hers when Anne came down she took one also. Mine was the prettiest of the whole & perfect in every part, Emilys was a Grave looking fellow we called him Gravey. Anne's was a queer little thing very much like herself. He was called Waiting Boy. Branwell chose Bonaparte.

In the Glasstown Confederacy each sibling was to have their own island which they would care for and manage. Each island was named after heroic leaders and had a capital called Glasstown, hence the name Glasstown Confederacy. Charlotte had Wellington, Branwell had Sneaky, Emily had Parry, and Anne had Ross.

However throughout the course of the game, a rebellion was staged by Anne and Emily. The youngest of the siblings they often were delegated the inferior positions within the game. After the abandonment of their islands, knew kingdoms were created and hence forth Gondal was born, fresh from the minds of the two girls. The earliest documented reference to Gondal is one of Emily's diary entries in 1834, 9 years after the Glasstown Confederacy, when the two younger sisters were aged 16 and 14 respectively; it read: "The Gondals are discovering the interior of Gaaldine.”
All of the prose chronicles are now lost. The only surviving remnants of the Gondal works are made up of poems, diary entries and some occasional memory aids such as lists of names and characteristics.

Is The Era of Arsene Wenger Coming to an End?

by Oliver Wright

For the past 21 years Arsene Wenger has been a stalwart of both the Premier League and Arsenal football club, and although he hasn’t showered the club with the success of the earlier stages of his tenure recently, it seems impossible to imagine Arsenal without Arsene. He has won 15 trophies with the North London club in this period, making him the most successful Arsenal manager in their history, and when you couple this with the fact that he is their longest serving manager as well, even the most die hard ‘Wenger out’ supporter couldn’t deny that he is a club legend. However, a near disastrous past week has left his job closer to the brink than ever before.

Firstly, there was the saga regarding the future of Alexis Sanchez, arguably the club’s best player, regarding his involvement in a training ground incident. Wenger dropped him from the starting line up against Liverpool, a pivotal match in their chase for a Champions League spot, and while this would have been seen a courageous move had the Gunners claimed a win, their 3-1 defeat was not only a calamitous result, but it resulted in their being pushed out of the top four by Liverpool. Furthermore, their seventh consecutive exit from the last-16 of the Champions League at the hands of Bayern Munich must have been extremely painful for the fans, as true European success continues to evade them. In the past, Wenger’s consistency in reaching these competitions has been enough to satisfy as his domestic success has been sufficient, however, failure in Europe has slowly translated to become not only a blemish upon his managerial record, but on Arsenal’s recent history. As you could argue that with great teams such as the Invincibles of 2003/4, not winning the Champions League is more difficult than actually winning it. Add this to the humiliating nature of the 10-2 scoreline and you can begin to see why some fans are tiring of Wenger’s continually unquestioned and untouchable position at the club. Admittedly Arsenal have progressed to the semi-finals of the FA Cup, however, when you consider that their quarter-final victory was over non-league Lincoln, it dampens this achievement somewhat.

I would argue that Wenger’s stubbornness to stick with his idealistic vision of football has partly caused the decline in his popularity at Arsenal. Although his fluid and impactful model of football from time to time produces the most sublime and beautiful moments and goals, the continual use of this method has turned an advantage into a disadvantage. Due to his pragmatism and unwillingness to compromise his entertaining vision of the game, he has failed to adapt to the evolving world of football, this in turn preventing him from reaching the heights of his earlier career, as managers have slowly formulated tactics to combat this. For example, Sir Alex Ferguson devised a template to beat Arsenal based on ‘good players who can intercept’, challenging the predictability of his attack-minded principles. This predictability has seeped into their league finishes too, finishing 4th in 7 out of the last 11 seasons. Which, although providing a consistent and respectable quality to their seasons, has left many fans frustrated with the lack of progress, with them believing Wenger is the reason behind the scarcity of major silverware.

Why Human Activity Is Damaging Our Health

by Francesca Dellafera

Nowadays, millions and millions of people use cars and buses as a means of transport, thinking that it's more efficient and, overall, just an easier way to travel. However effective technology has become in engineering these vehicles, the negatives outweigh the positives.

Pollution in the UK is becoming increasingly problematic, especially in cities such as Southampton where big ships and ferries travel through, requiring petrol. There have been at least 30,000 deaths each year in the UK caused by air pollution, which especially affects people with already existing respiratory problems. In China, people have to even wear masks to cover their mouths from breathing in such harmful toxin fumes. And, by mid century, the number of deaths are expected to rise, killing more than 6 million per year globally.  

Is this really the atmosphere we want for the air we depend upon? One in three cars in Britain runs off diesel and 95% of these diesel cars emit more nitrogen oxides than are legally allowed. We are surrounding ourselves with toxins and fumes that we don't even realise are there and, as the population is rising exponentially, surely it will only get worse.

However, it is not just us who are suffering. The black carbon particles, produced by biomass-burning stoves in developing countries, settle on the Arctic, absorbing sunlight. The hotter the surface of the ice becomes the more it will melt. And I know that doesn't seem much to me or you, but out there are polar bears whose habitats are being destroyed because of human activity. They are innocent victims of our everyday routine, and this needs to stop.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Sunrise over Sixth Form

by Tony Hicks

Why the House of Lords Has Made A Big Mistake

by Mark Docherty

Last week the Brexit saga took its most recent twist as the House of Lords voted for an amendment to the Brexit bill which will seek to guarantee the rights of EU citizens already living in the UK.  The amendment was passed in the House of Lords by 358 to 256 votes and the bill will now go back to the House of Commons where MPs will have to vote on the amendment.

On the face of it, the amendment seems to be a perfectly reasonable one as, realistically, EU citizens in the UK were always going to be allowed to keep their rights because there would have been uproar if the government had made any significant changes.  However, if the amendment does get passed in the Commons - and I think it probably will - all that will happen is that the government will have had one of their key bargaining tools taken away from them.  As Theresa May said, it is impractical to guarantee the rights of EU citizens in the UK before the rights of UK citizens living in the EU have also been guaranteed.

The House of Lords are undoubtedly trying to do the right thing in protecting EU nationals living in Britain, but in my view they are simply weakening the UK’s position in negotiating any trade deal with the EU.  If the amendment is passed by the Commons then the EU will be able to threaten Theresa May with a poor deal without having any worries about needing to protect their own people.  If the amendment is not passed, all that will happen is that the leaders of EU nations and Mrs May will agree to guarantee the right of everybody living in the Uk or EU already, but now there is no incentive for the EU to make such a promise to the UK.

Angela Merkel was asked by Mrs May to remove the issue of citizens’ rights from the post-Brexit negotiations, but the German Chancellor refused which suggests that there is a real chance that Uk nationals living in the EU will not have their rights protected, especially if the rights of EU citizens in the same position are not negotiable.  At a time when Britain needs all the bargaining power possible, the last thing they need is to have one of the main incentives for the EU to give them a positive trade deal taken away.

Sexism in the Video Game Industry

by Ellie Williams-Brown

There is a common perception that video games are only made by boys, for boys, ignoring and isolating the many women who play games. Anyone who was around at the conception of the gaming industry would know that they were originally advertised for the whole family, and games being for teenage boys is a relatively new idea. If the video game industry wants to increase its revenue and progress further as an art form, not a time waster, major companies need to start being more inclusive in their marketing to all ages and genders,

Back in the early days of video games the characters were unisex - such as in Pong - and they were marketed to the whole family. Whilst there may have been some male characters at the beginning, women played so many video games that, for some, when it was time to create a sequel the main character became a woman. Most notably this happened in Pacman where in the sequel you played as Ms. Pacman (note the Ms not the Mrs), due to the fact that “the game's record-shattering success derived from its overwhelming popularity among female gamers,” (Electronic Gamers Magazine, 1982). Not only were the majority of video game consumers women, so were many of the original developers. Amongst the stars of early game design were Carol Shaw, Donna Bailey and Roberta Williams. Shaw is believed to be the first female video game developer, working at Atari in 1978 and Bailey created the arcade video game Centipede. Williams was an adventure game pioneer who, is not only credited with creating the graphic adventure genre, but was also company co-founder of Sierra-On-Line and created Kingsquest, which was a massive hit amongst all gamers. Sadly, the relatively progressive era of video games was not to last. In 1983 publishers began flooding the gaming market with haphazard, sub-standard games in the hope of making money. This led to many adults withdrawing completely from video games, causing the market to crash. 

The ideas and sexism we see today came in when the original Nintendo entertainment system was introduced in 1983. Nintendo, who were desperate for their product not to fail, planned to sell their system in the toy aisle instead of the electronics, changing their advertising to kids instead of the whole family. At this point the toy aisle was already separated into ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ so, for no apparent reason, Nintendo choose ‘boys’ and marketed to them relentlessly, appealing to stereotypes of masculinity (power, violence and hordes of horny women vying for their attention). Due to Nintendo's massive sales success other companies followed suit and continued to relentlessly market exclusively to boys. Following decades of this general society seems to believe that video games are exclusively for men and any women who plays is a fantastical beauty, rarer then a unicorn.

Photography: Yomper

by Tony Hicks

The Royal Marines Museum will close in April and will reopen at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in 2020: a world-class Royal Marines Museum which appropriately recognises the heroism and sacrifice of this elite service. The closure of the Eastney galleries is one of the necessary steps to achieve that goal. It will be a state of the art museum containing the very latest in technology and hands-on activity.  It will occupy the present Action Stations building, one of the original Victorian Boathouses, close to the Victory Gate visitor entrance.  The main part of the building, including the historic Mast Pond in front, will be completely refurbished to provide a new museum.

Review: 'Othello'

by Ilana Berney

On 5th March 2017 the Year 13 Higher Level IB class (plus one lucky A level student), along with Ms Burden and Ms Smith travelled to London to watch Shakespeare’s Othello performed in the Sam Wannamaker Playhouse, next to the Globe Theatre. (Spoiler Alert: If you don’t wish to know some of the key happenings of Othello I would advise not reading this…)

The Playhouse aims to recreate what it would be like for a play to be performed inside a court, instead of an open air theatre like the Globe. The trip was thoroughly enjoyed by all, with all of us enthralled by the performance of the actors, however there were certain points that everyone found an interesting contrast and comparison the text of Othello that we are currently studying for our exams. These included: the music choice, the use of lighting, and the portrayal of the characters personalities.
The choice of music was the opposite of what we were expecting right from the beginning. The opening song “Videogames” caused slight confusion, and later differences of opinion amongst our class, when it was heard in conjunction with the traditional Shakespeare costume and speech. This Lana Del Ray love song became a reoccurring sound throughout the performance. Used at the beginning it was almost a haunting sound when combined with the opening scenes and lighting. This haunting nature turned into a rather rousing and bubbly anthem as the play progressed; in particular during the celebration/seemingly hen party scene. However, as the play turned darker and lived up to its genre of tragedy, the one uplifting love song came to have a distorted meaning, turning to represent the unfortunate tragedy and demise of Othello and Desdemona’s love. The song also caused controversy in our English class owing to the way it was sung in place of the much anticipated, (by our class at least), Willow Song, which is sung by Desdemona as she is coming to terms with the realisation that she would soon be killed by her husband. The change in song emphasised the modernisation that the whole play had undergone, the contrast between modern music and old-fashioned melodies and Shakespearean language, although unexpected and different to what we imagined, worked well and provided a unique take on the tragedy of Othello.

The use of lighting throughout the performance was another aspect of the trip that triggered much discussion on the way home and later in class; however, unlike the music there was little to no negative feedback on how it was used and the effects it had on the overall drama. The whole playhouse was lit solely by candlelight (they used real candles throughout the whole performance), this use of lighting not only showed and gave the atmosphere of what it would have been like when the play was first performed, but also emphasised the dark and claustrophobic nature of the tragedy as a whole. Many scenes with in Othello happen at night; in the traditional open air theatre of the Globe, this would have been represented by the introduction of people holding torches and often accompanied by lines such as “bring me light”. 

Is Situation Ethics Another Form of Antinomianism?

by Gabriella Watson

Situation Ethics, pioneered by Professor Joseph Fletcher, is an antinomian ethic as it asserts that decision making should be based upon the circumstances of the particular situation, not upon fixed law. In Christianity, it explains that theologians are under no obligation to obey the laws of ethics or morality. However, as a form of antinomianism, Situation Ethics is a weak theory predominately because the absence of laws leads to the promotion of immoral behaviour as there are no universal, fixed guidelines and, although the theory itself is based upon Christian teachings, it does not appeal to religious absolutists.

 Firstly, the main feature of Situation Ethics lies in its lawless, flexible nature which can help lead to the promotion of moral behaviour. It is not based on absolute rules which must be strictly adhered to, unlike other ethical theories such as the deontological Divine Command Theory. It therefore places trust in individuals to assess situations independently and decide for themselves which course of action will best serve the needs of the fundamental principle of “agape love”. Consequentially, Situation Ethics promotes moral behaviour because its versatile structure, based purely on love, motivates individuals to respond to ethical dilemmas in the most compassionate way, helping to benefit the greater good of humanity without having to rely on a legalistic structure. For example, the antinomian form of Situation Ethics may support euthanasia, which is usually condemned by authoritarian ethics such as Natural Law, as the taking of a life alleviates suffering, helping to generate the most loving action. The flexible nature of Situation Ethics was supported by Anglican Bishop John Robinson who said that the absence of laws would enable ‘man to come of age’. Robinson attempted to avoid strict authority from ‘law makers’ and institutions which he deemed damaging and oppressive.

However, ethics ought to give a clear system for making moral choices enabling the individual to judge between wrong and right easily. A legalist approach to ethics gives the moral agent a much clearer set of guidelines when approaching a challenging decision.  Given that Situation Ethics is a relativistic theory that allows for flexibility and diversity when approaching moral decisions, it could therefore lead to moral anarchy. This is because the idea of “love” is subjective, and as there are no guidelines to help judge what the definition is, different people could interpret different actions to be the most loving, which in turn could lead to injustice. For example, the atrocity of the Holocaust in which 11 million individuals were murdered could be justified using the antinomian form of Situation Ethics because Hitler genuinely believed that he was acting out of love for Germany. As it is a lawless ethic, based entirely on love, it therefore shows how the different considerations of love can be dangerous and lead to immoral behaviour. Professor Graham Dunstan, a fierce critic of Situation Ethics, chastised SCM Press for publishing Fletcher’s work because he feared it would lead to moral chaos because people would be free to decide for themselves what “agape love is” due to the absence of laws.    

Monday, 6 March 2017

Immortality: Blessing or Curse?

by Eleanor Barber

While eternal life seems fun at first as you would be able to see civilizations rise and fall, does the downsides of immortality out way the upsides to it?

If you think about it, what could be worse than eternal life? This is because eternal life is not eternal youth, you would still grow old and face the challenges of growing old. While medicines are getting better and allowing people to live longer, our current medicine would not be prepared for someone aging forever. The medicines would eventually become experimental as medicine would not be able to keep up with you. This is assuming that you were randomly gifted or cursed with immortality and not given some sort of Mire repair kit, like in Doctor who, that keeps you at the age you were when you were given it and keeps you healthy. 

Another flaw of immortality is that you would eventually run out of people to talk to as humans would either become extinct or carry on evolving to the point of humans being unable to communicate the same way as we do now. You would be considered practically a caveman a couple of hundred thousand years from now and would be something that would be studied as you would no longer be able to communicate with others. There would be a point in your life when you stop being classified as a human, and humans in the future would see you as the last of your species that takes a long time to die rather than you being an immortal human born in their version of ancient history like the early Romans are to us.

On the topic of the Romans, we view them as ancient history. Books that they wrote are considered classical, buildings that they built are considered ancient monuments. The fall of the Romans empire occurred in 1455 AD, around 600 years ago. In terms of our life spans that is a long time ago, and our perception of time is warped now, but imagine what an immortal would see 600 years. As an immortal people would expect you to be at all the important events in history so that you be an eye witness but you could be have been on the other side of the world.. Being an immortal does not mean you get the ability to time travel until they invent time travel in the future, if they invent time travel.

This Diet Will Change Your Life!

by Tom Fairman

Shrove Tuesday or pancake day usually takes a little while to recover from. After the crazy tour of local shops to try and find some eggs, there is the frantic search for the lemon juice in the cupboard which you are sure is still there from last year. The failed flipping followed by overdoing the sugar on top of the pancakes means a holiday is required to recover. This is mirrored in the excessive chocolate eating that can occur on Easter Sunday if unsupervised children or adults have their way. Their is a certain irony in the fact that Lent then is a time of fasting, book-ended by two events usually associated with over indulgence!
Fasting is associated with the giving up of or abstinence from a certain type of food or drink. For Catholics, it traditionally is no meat on Fridays; for everyone else, it is chocolate. However for those in the know, there is always the “Sunday is not included” clause which has helped many a suffering faster. To deny yourself food on religious grounds is common among many religions due to many reasons and Jesus fasting in the desert is one of these. After His baptism, Jesus goes into the desert for forty days to prepare for His earthly ministry, which is where Lent draws its inspiration from. During this time He is tempted three times; the first of which is food related.
Without the amenities of a town, the devil encourages Jesus to turn the stones into bread to satisfy His hunger. A simple and sensible suggestion; trying to do anything whilst hungry is incredibly difficult. Ask anyone who has dieted. However Jesus refuses, saying man does not live on bread alone, suggesting there must be more that is required to live on. People often diet for health reasons or body image; they place these objectives as a higher priority over the pleasure that is achieved from eating nice food. Fasting is therefore not supposed to be a torture or sadistic; it is there to remind us that something is more important.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Review: 'Hamlet'

by Daniel Hill

Rob Icke returns to the Almeida to adapt and direct a new production of Hamlet. Starring Andrew Scott in his Almeida debut and Juliet Stevenson returns straight after her run in Mary Stuart at the same theatre.  The play was a modern adaptation of the Shakespeare play and was very thought provoking due to the unique style of direction that Rob Icke has brought to the Almeida recently.

As most Shakespeare’s plays have the ability to, Hamlet was adapted successfully to be set in a modern period which made it more relatable to an audience. I thought that Andrew Scott brought a calm and simple character to the title role which different to many other portrayals of Hamlet. I thought this was very interesting but was played with both chutzpah and conviction. Scott was able to keep the audience in silent and awe as he spoke the famous speech which includes the words “To be or not to be” had an equal amount of silent and speech which kept the audience on the edge of their seats.

As an audience member of the first preview things are bound to go wrong, especially as this was originally due to be the second preview but the first was cancelled due to technical issues. One scene that stood out was after Polonius was murdered. I believe that the following moment was meant to be comical to the audience but not the actors. 

Village Tales: Pam Turner’s Radical Jam

by Nina Watson

It was a typical Sunday Morning in Maplebottom, and soft sunlight was streaming through the kitchen windows of one Pamela Turner. With ‘The Archer’s’ playing softly in the background, Pam vigorously scribbled out yet another useless jam recipe and let out a huff of frustration. How could she have been so foolish to think that boring old Damson and Rosehip preserve would be enough to win this year’s annual “Jam Jamboree”? Apricot and Cinnamon, Peach and Pineapple and Raspberry and Thyme had all failed to reach Pam’s already impossible standards, and she had been working on those combinations for months. With the Jamboree only four days away Pam knew she had to really push the boat out with her jam if she was ever to beat Susan Hornslade. Bah that Susan! Pam had always thought she was a smug busybody, and she hated it when Susan sewed her many 1st place jam ribbons onto her blanket at quilting club right in front of Pam’s face. Wiping her sticky hands down the front of her apron in defeat, Pam turned away from the carnage at the kitchen counter and in an effort to distract herself, began to get together the ingredients for that evening’s supper.  A Thai green curry she thought to herself, and then suddenly as if she had been struck by the hand of God, she knew. She knew how to dazzle the jamboree judges, wipe that silly smirk off of Susan’s face and to create the ultimate taste extravaganza that no one in Maplebottom would ever recover from. With a renewed sense of self, Pam hurried to Tesco’s in search of the biggest chili she could find…


“Oh Susan, have you heard? Heard about Pam Turner?”
“Don’t get me started Madge because my poor heart can’t take it. A curried chicken preserve, really? What next, one of those gluten free cakes?” Susan Hornslade looked disapprovingly over her quilt at Madge Greene. Susan, a woman who considered herself the fountain of what was what and what was not in Maplebottom, was very perplexed at such a… daring choice of ingredients for a jam. Being the winner of the Jam Jamboree five years in a row Susan knew what it took to cook an incomparable jam, and she just wasn’t confident that Pam had that God-given knowledge. “It’s just such a risk with only two days until the Jamboree! I always thought that Pam was slightly… different. Lord Madge, do you remember when she entered ‘nut butter’ into the Big Butter Bash? How embarrassing that was for her.” Happily carrying on with sewing a new patch onto her quilt, Susan decided she would bake Pam a consolation cake, to comfort her after her inevitable defeat on Friday.